The Space Cantina – The Blood, 36 Hours, Editing and SciFi World Building

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Good news everyone! I’ve decided to post some more updates about my writing today and you know what that means?

Yeah… I’m behind again. It’s not my fault, I swear! Well, actually, that’s a lie. Sorry. As I sit here listening to “The Glass Prison” by Dream Theatre, I’m reminded how time can get away from us, closing in around us with its invisible, intangible walls until there’s hardly any room to breathe. That’s how I feel lately, but it’s all for the best. The wife and I are moving soon, in three weeks in fact, and a great deal of time lately is split between a ton of overtime at work and packing up the apartment. I’m very excited about this move because at our new place I will have my very own writing room! Right? How cool is that? I’ll have my own quiet space to work, plot and scheme.

But enough of that; time for the updates! Continue reading

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The Space Cantina – Novel writing, progress and sushi (okay, there’s no sushi, sorry)

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I realize it’s been over a week since my last post, sorry about that. I wish I had a really, really good excuse but I don’t. Really what’s been going on is simply work, work, and more work. 50-60 hours a week kind of work. This is the second time it’s really kept me from posting a story though and thus, my goal keeps getting punched in the face.

The Blood has hit a wall. Not because I don’t really know where to go with it, I do, it’s just that I’m finding myself dividing too much time between other projects and not working on the novel. I get very few hours to sit down and put words on the page, and if I dedicate it to The Blood, I don’t dedicate it to the novel. So which do I concentrate on? Part of me feels awful for putting the novel first, because I think I do in fact have several folks who read this blog. It’s to you folks I’m talking to now. Continue reading

The Space Cantina – Thoughts on 36 Hours, writing and what’s next

SpaceCantina_HeaderPart 18 marks the end that revision of 36 Hours. I hope everybody enjoyed it! It’s definitely a moody piece, something I actively worked to achieve. I loved Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a book I tried to give homage to with 36 Hours. It wasn’t a story of huge heroics, of running in like Rambo and gunning down all the bad guys, it was a story about regular men trying to survive a horrible situation. It was a story of loss, both of life and hope. World War One shattered an entire generation around the world, and I’d hoped to capture just a small sense of that with my rendition of the United State’s own spirit-rending crisis.

I think this story requires one more revision and in that revision I feel I need to change Kat’s name. Kat is the name of Paul Baumer’s comrade in All Quiet and someone who served the same role for Paul as my Kat did for Tommy. It’s hard to change though, because Stephen Katzin is forever Kat in my mind. Maybe I’ll get away with it remaining the same, I don’t know. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 18 (Finale)

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Time slows.

Kat pitches forward. Blood splatters my face. I think I scream his name, cry out in horror and in panic. Shells explode all around me, their fragments tearing up the ground behind me, before me and to either side, yet nothing touches me here, in this haven of stone and mortar. Only Kat.

I rush to him, scrambling on hands and knees. There is so much blood and so it was a shell and not a sniper. Shrapnel has torn into Kat’s neck just below the hairline and above his shoulder blades. I ease him onto his side while I apply a bandage. He groans.

“Kat,” I say, desperate to believe him well, that this is nothing but a scratch that looks so much worse than it is. I want him to sit up and laugh and tell me it’s fine, not to worry. He does none of this. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 17

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There are no grenades to be had and so we pack our belts with as many rounds as we can. Kat hands me some food he’s scrounged and I nibble on a strip of dried meat as we collect these things, sometimes pulling them off the men who in this dugout with us. They do not protest and some do not even look up. The shell shock has gotten to them.

“This should be Shiod’s job,” Kat mutters as we leave the dugout. I do not trust myself to speak in response. That wound is still too fresh, the ghost of my friend still lingering in every dark corner. I grunt and Kat understands. If Kat grieves, I do not see it. He is a year older and perhaps a year wiser and tougher. Perhaps it is even simpler still. He is too long at the front. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 16

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We lay low in the shell holes for there are no proper trenches any longer. The continuous bombardments reduced their depth in some areas to less than three feet. It is enough to lie down and close one’s eyes and wait for the next shell to claim him.

Kat and I never stay in one place too long. We move from hole to hole, crawling beneath wire and leaping over pools of dirty water and blood. We survive by our swiftness and luck alone. Continue reading

36 Hours – Part 15

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The earth heaves under the barrage and throws up gouts of rock and dirt in every possible direction. We run, hunched over like animals. In places we are reduced to rodents, scurrying on hands and knees as the trench is destroyed above us. I hear nothing but the booms and cracks of artillery fire. I see nothing but flashes of intense daylight when the star shells explode overhead. In those moments the world is reduced to what is before me. The trench is my home and Shiod and Kat my brothers.

A shell lands behind us. I hear its whistle a moment before impact and fall flat, covering my head. I feel the explosion before I hear it, a deep, angry rumble that turns into a terrible vibration. It tears at me, rips the trench apart on all sides. Mud and dirt and human viscera fall upon me. Continue reading